News / Middle East

Arab League to Present Syria Plan to UN Security Council

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani (R) attend a meeting of the Committee of Arab Coordination in Doha (December 2011 file photo)
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani (R) attend a meeting of the Committee of Arab Coordination in Doha (December 2011 file photo)

Arab League officials announced Thursday that they will present a palm for resolving Syria's months-long unrest to the U.N. Security Council on Monday. Meanwhile, Syrian opposition forces say government troops stormed the Damascus suburb of Douma in an attempt to crush rebel forces.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby says he and Qatar's prime minister will jointly ask the U.N. Security Council to endorse a League plan which calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to a deputy and form a national unity government to prepare for national elections. Syria has rejected the League plan.

Speaking in Cairo, Elaraby said he will depart for the U.N.'s New York headquarters on Saturday.

Violence continued Thursday in Syria.

Syrian government tanks and artillery pounded the Damascus suburb of Douma capturing it from rebel soldiers and arresting scores of people. Opposition websites also reported that government forces  attacked other suburbs of the capital.

A widespread government offensive against opposition strongholds in the cities of Hama, Homs and Idlib began Wednesday, amid reports of heavy resistance. Videos on opposition websites showed pocked walls and storefronts in Hama from government shelling.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says the Syrian government's latest military offensive is a sign of increasing desperation:

“The intensity of the uprising has kept increasing week after week. So I think the regime is desperate and the latest moves by the government to try to clamp on the opposition as soon as possible will backfire in my opinion. I assume that there will be more army defections as the result of the use of excessive firepower," Khashan said.

Joshua Landis, who teaches at the University of Oklahoma and edits the website “Syria Comment,” says that rebel soldiers calling themselves the “Free Syrian Army” are disorganized and unable to match the much stronger government forces:

“It's a bunch of little militias that have popped up in different towns and are taking no central orders. They call themselves the Free Syrian Army, but they're not coordinating their military efforts. If they were coordinating, they'd all rise up and fight the Syrian Army at once," Landis said.

The experts say the central government is progressively weakening as the opposition grows stronger.

Landis predicts Syria will see an increasingly sectarian conflict, one resembling the civil strife of recent years in Lebanon and Iraq. But in the short term, he says the Syrian opposition is “riven by dissension,” while the government enjoys weak support from those who fear civil war.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid